If you would have asked me when I started Exploring Food My Way what about the experience of blogging would surprise me the most, I probably would have responded that showing up in a Google search would have blown my mind. As I've spent time building up the content on this site, I've also been fortunate to be able to discover how interconnected people are in the food industry, whether you are cooking it, eating it, or writing about it. What has really surprised me after all this time is how supportive others have been to me. It's not just about promoting yourself 100% of the time. When you help to promote others, they often return the favor.
I've also mentioned in other entries my love for Rick Sebak's work on PBS, naming his video Sandwiches That You Will Like as the basis for several trips out of state to seek out and try them for myself. When I learned recently that he was producing a show on nothing but breakfasts called Breakfast Special, I made sure I tuned in to watch it. Besides being a sucker for these kinds of shows, what excited me even more was that one of his stops was going to be in Columbus, Ohio. As some of my gentle readers may already know, I spent about five years living in Columbus before returning to northeast Ohio.
As I was watching the segment on Columbus breakfast joints, it was apparent that Rick had enlisted the help of local resident Nick Dekker, blogger on Breakfast with Nick, to help him scout out several key locations for video shoots. Since I was multi-tasking at the time, while watching the show on PBS, I pulled up Nick's website and began reading his content. Thinking that he had a cool point of view, not only did I add his blog to the list I currently read on a regular basis, but I sent him a note on Twitter telling him how much I had enjoyed watching his segment.
What started out as a simple "Hey, you're segment was great!" eventually turned into a virtual conversation of sorts. When I realized that I had absolutely nothing planned for the Sunday following the Ohio Linuxfest and that I would be in need of breakfast food before returning home, I invited Nick to not only provide suggestions, but also encouraged him to meet up with me for a bite to eat if he was free. He accepted my invitation and at 1 PM on Sunday afternoon, I pulled into the parking lot at one of his favorite breakfast places in all of Columbus, the aptly named The Best Breakfast and Sandwiches.
As with most of the strip mall stores in the area, Best Breakfast was located away from the street, almost hidden from view. As far as the Post Office was concerned, Best Breakfast was located at 5916 Westerville Road, Westerville, OH 43081 and can be reached at 614-776-5788. Parking was in the lot surrounding the strip mall.
Here was a shot of the front of the portion of the strip mall containing Best Breakfast:
Since it was a relatively cool and pleasant day, I waited for Nick and his young son to arrive. Nick had posted pictures of himself on his own blog, so it wasn't hard for me to pick him out as he got out of his automobile. After shaking hands and introducing me to his son, we walked into the restaurant where he was immediately recognized by the staff. Clearly fame preceded him. Or maybe he just likes to eat here a lot. The first thing that I noticed actually wasn't anything visual, but olfactory. The smell of vanilla and cinnamon were floating in layers through the air and I have to admit that it was completely intoxicating.
After a few minutes, our server was able to get a table set up for us and we sat down after Nick got his son situated in the high chair. In between bits of conversation, I managed to take pictures of the menu:
I asked Nick if there was a house specialty and he pretty much stated that everything was made from scratch. In his experience, the appeal of Best Breakfast wasn't that there was a standout item that everyone ordered, but that the level of quality was high across the board. After seeing that homemade sausage gravy and biscuits were offered, I knew exactly what I wanted to order. The fact that I could get them with additional sides made it even more tempting. In the end, I decided to add eggs, bacon, and some of their griddled potatoes to my order.
What came out were two HUGE plates of food. First, my sides:
The bacon was nicely crisped, just as I had asked for it. The eggs came out of the kitchen at the requested sunnyside-up, but there was just a touch of undercooked whites near the bright, goldenrod yolks. However, the eggs were unseasoned. This sparked a more in-depth discussion between Nick and me: It's clearly a pattern that more often than not, eggs need seasoning, but restaurants rarely serve them that way. He had noticed the pattern, too, but remarked that while he didn't mind adding seasoning to eggs, if the potatoes came out of the kitchen underseasoned, that was where he drew the line. I agreed. Fortunately, the potatoes (I don't know that I would call them hash since the chunks were so large) came out perfectly cooked and seasoned. The exterior of the potatoes was crispy and the interior soft and fluffy.
Along with my platter of meats and potatoes, I received a second platter with my biscuits smothered in sausage gravy:
The gravy was definitely homemade; I could taste the freshness with the very first bite. The sweetness from the milk matched well with the minute amount of spice from the black pepper and nice chunks of sausage. As opposed to some versions I've had of this dish in the past, the biscuit was as good as the sausage gravy. Sometimes I get the feeling that restaurants think they can hide a substandard biscuit under a smothering of good gravy. This clearly wasn't the case today at Best Breakfast. The biscuit was tender and cut easily under the pressure of my fork. If any criticism was to be levied, I wished that the gravy had a bit more peppery edge to it; then again, anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows that I'm a huge fan of spicy food.
While Nick graciously offered to put my bill on the open tab that the owners have started for him, I declined his gesture on the grounds that I wanted to be able to write my review with a clear conscience. I have to say that overall, my experience at The Best Breakfast and Sandwiches was very positive, from the moment I walked through the front door until the second we left, fully sated. While there were only two minor issues I had with the food I was served today, I would have absolutely no problem returning for another meal here, especially if I still lived in Columbus. I definitely recommend this small, out-of-the-way restaurant to anyone looking for a great breakfast. Their menu may not be progressive, but what was listed, was executed well.